Today it is my great pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on the brilliant new thriller from Sam Carrington, The Missing Wife. Thanks to Sabah Khan of Avon for including me in the tour and providing the advance copy of the book. Before I let you know what I thought, here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
You think you know those closest to you. You are wrong…
A sleep-deprived new mother approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing Louisa wants to do is celebrate.
But when her friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Louisa’s Facebook friends, Louisa is faced with a room full of people she hasn’t spoken to in years – including someone she never expected to see again: her ex-boyfriend, Oliver Dunmore.
When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers the night differently. Someone knows what happened to Melissa, and Louisa is determined to find them. But the truth could be closer, and the deception more devastating, than she’d ever imagined…
A gripping psychological suspense novel, perfect for fans of Samantha Downing’s My Lovely Wife, Lucy Clarke’s You Let Me In and Linda Green’s The Last Thing She Told Me.Available from: Amazon | Waterstones | Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books
I love delving into the work of an author that I know I enjoy. One where, so far in their career at least, I have never once been disappointed. Sam Carrington is one such author and since I first read Saving Sophie, almost unbelievably nearly three years ago, I have always looked forward to seeing a new title appear on Amazon. So when I saw that The Missing Wife, was up for pre-order, I didn’t hesitate. It was one of those impulse, don’t even read the blurb kinds of buys. I love the setting of Devon, an area I know, if not intimately, at least fairly well due to work, and the author has never failed to create characters that I became fascinated by, even if I couldn’t always like them.
The Missing Wife is once again exactly this kind of book. Focused on our main protagonist Louisa, this is a book with an undulating rhythm – , sometimes surprising, sometimes emotional, often tense – but ultimately highly entertaining. In it we meet Louisa, a practically forty-year old second mother who is finding adjusting to the whims of a newborn quite difficult after over a decade’s gap since her first child. Her husband and her best friend think that what they are planning, a surprise party, will help but ultimately they set off a chain of events which bring Louisa face to face with a person from her past – former boyfriend – a.k.a. the love of her life – Oliver Dunmore. Oliver and Louisa share a secret, one that she cannot remember, but one which threatens to change Louisa’s safe and comfortable life forever.
On a very broad scale, this is a book about a woman who is struggling with lack of sleep, perhaps a touch of post-natal depression, and definitely more than a bit of well meaning friends who seem hell bent on ruining her life. Not that they actually know this part, but there were times I could definitely identify with Louisa. I have to say that is anyone in my family tried to organise a surprise party for me, even without the added torture of new baby sleep deprivation, there would be murder but it would be no mystery. And as for it being almost entirely made up of Louisa’s Facebook friends … well, you can see where this is going can’t you? I completely got where Louisa was coming from in her anger and in some ways, this whole episode made me warm to her more as it’s safe to say she’s not necessarily a character you will like immediately. Yes there is the fact that she is struggling as a mother, something which felt very authentic and well drawn out on the page, but there is just … something about her which had me second guessing her from the off. I didn’t quite trust her but you’ll have tor read for yourself to see if my trust, or lack of, was misplaced or ill judged.
Speaking of trust, her best friend Tiff was someone I just could not get a handle on. On the surface they seem completely mismatched, and then with the sneaking around with Louisa’s husband, Brian, I was never quite sure how innocent it all was. Certainly there were moments in the story where i began questioning quite seriously how good a friend Tiff really was and if there might be some darker, far more dangerous game in play here than even Louisa realised. The author has done a brilliant job in creating this suspicion and misdirection, leaving me as a reader not knowing who to trust. There is a level of paranoia from Louisa’s point of view too which again had me questioning what was true and what was imagined.
And then there was Oliver. Louisa’s first love. Husband to Melissa, the eponymous ‘missing wife’. But was his reappearance in Louisa’s life just a mere twist of fate (aka Facebook), or something planned, perhaps packed with more intent. He was a little too far on the wrong side of charming for me to ever be wholly comfortable with him as a character. He always seemed to be right there, crowding Louisa. There was definitely no trust involved when it came to him but the author still managed to create an element of surprise the more the story progressed and the more of Louisa and Oliver’s past was revealed.
Can I say that I was 100% caught unaware by the big reveals? No, not if I’m being honest. I’d second guessed a few, if not quite all of them. But there were still enough secrets being kept, enough surprises kept in store, that I was kept hooked on the story from start to finish and keen to see how it all played out. Certainly not quite as I had been expecting, that’s for sure, even with the killer opening chapter.
If you have enjoyed any of the author’s other books, you are going to enjoy this too. Definitely recommended.
About the Author
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.
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